Homemade Tortillas: Pillowy Flatbread

David Dial | Spiced Blog

Homemade tortillas are used in many Mexican and Southwestern recipes. You'll be well-rewarded for making your own homemade flour version!

Homemade Tortillas Photo

I absolutely love Southwestern and Tex-Mex cuisine, and flour tortillas are probably one of the most common ingredients in this type of food. Think about it. Burritos, wraps, quesadillas, and chimichangas all require flour tortillas to reach their maximum level of deliciousness!

But have you ever made your own flour tortillas at home? They’re really not that difficult, and the taste of a fresh tortilla is simply amazing.

While these homemade tortillas are tasty by themselves, they can be a bit boring in the flavor department. Instead, it’s how tortillas are used that make them so valuable (and tasty) in the kitchen. Take these Grilled Chicken Quesadillas for example. This recipe features delicious marinated, grilled chicken and onions, but the grilled quesadilla wouldn’t be possible without flour tortillas.

Homemade Tortillas Pic

Similarly, flour tortillas can be used for sweet treats, too. These Cinnamon Cheesecake Dessert Samosas rank pretty high up there on my list of favorite desserts.

Homemade Tortillas Image

Making homemade tortillas is oddly very similar to making homemade pie dough. The dry ingredients are combined in a bowl, and then the fat is cut in until uniformly mixed. For pie dough, I prefer to use butter, but tortillas require vegetable shortening or lard. Lard is actually a better bet (and more traditional) for making tortillas if you happen to have it available. Shortening is an acceptable substitute when lard isn’t available, though. Believe it or not, fresh lard (available from your butcher) actually has less saturated fat than shortening too. The same can't be said for shelf stable lard at the grocery store, so beware there.

Homemade Tortillas Picture

Once you've decided on your fat, just mix some water into the dough, let it rest for a few minutes, and then roll it out into super thin pieces. While the dough behaves a bit differently than pie dough, the process is still remarkably similar. So, while it might be easier to just open a bag of store-bought tortillas, try your hand at making the homemade version, you will be well-rewarded for your efforts!

      15 Servings

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable shortening, or lard
  • 1-1 1/4 cups water

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Using a party cutter (or your fingers), cut the vegetable shortening into the flour mixture until it is fully incorporated.
  3. Add 1 cup of water to the mixing bowl and stir until no loose flour remains. (If needed, use up at ¼ cup of additional water.)
  4. Knead the mixture for 1-2 minutes, or until a soft dough forms.
  5. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Divide the dough into 15 pieces of approximately equal weight. Shape each piece into a tight ball, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rest for 10 more minutes.
  7. On a lightly floured work surface, roll each tortilla into a circle about 8” in diameter.
  8. Heat a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat until a drop of water “sizzles” when dropped in the skillet.
  9. Place one tortilla in the skillet and cook for about 35-40 seconds. Flip tortilla and cook for another 35-40 seconds. (Note: The tortilla will bubble slightly and light brown spots will form as the tortilla cooks. This is normal. If the spots are black, then reduce the temperature of the pan.)
  10. Store cooked tortillas in a 200°F oven or tortilla warmer until ready to use. Leftover tortillas can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Recommended Equipment


Homemade tortillas photo

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About David

David is bringing up the guy quotient here on Food Fanatic, representing all things Grilling in a big way. On his own site, Spiced, David covers every kind of culinary adventure.

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